As governments in the region struggle with troubling debt burdens, Nik Soni reminds us that we have been here before and risk making the same mistakes of the past. History shows that the externally driven ideology of 'Trump-esque angry white men with the strategic foresight of a goldfish' will not work. The overly simplistic austerity mantra of more taxes, less spending and selling off state assets needs to be tempered with an open conversation about the problem, increasing revenue compliance, debt re-financing and drawing on the technical skills that exist within our region.
The Government of Vanuatu is undertaking a revenue review, and some in the business community are concerned this may lead to the introduction of personal and corporate income tax. As we await the report of the government's revenue task force, and in the absence of rigorous independent analysis, the conversation remains steeped in hearsay and the advocacy positions of various interest groups. In this piece, Derek Brien and Nikunj Soni highlight some of the issues that need further consideration so that there can be an informed national conversation about tax.
For a third consecutive year, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy has brought secondary school students together to dissect, discuss and dispute key issues of the region. Ten schools from Efate have signed up to compete in a new format aimed to provide greater levels of participation and learning for students. The following is an update (with video clips) of the 2016 competition.
In this book review of Sir Julius Chan's recently released autobiography: Playing the Game, Sean Jacobs offers a glimpse into a comprehensive history of Sir Julius Chan's time in governance, which is also a reflection of Papua New Guinea's shaky four decades of political sovereignty.
Working together with IBS, the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Training, the National Parliament of the Solomon Islands and Fiji’s Ministry of Education, PiPP has developed a range of resources for the Melanesian School Debate (MSD). This sub-regional debate initiative brings together the region's future leaders to interpret and assess key regional issues, providing them with the space to explore new perspectives and present an informed exchange of ideas to their peers and community.
For teachers, schools, civil society groups and organisations who are interested in debate, PiPP has developed a number of debate introductory activities that can be adopted, including a simplified classroom debate handbook that can be shared with students to introduce the concepts.